ATLANTA -- A rainout forced the Atlanta Braves to wait a day for their first look at their new center fielder and No. 3 hitter.
The rainout forced the Chicago Cubs to wait another day for the return of Carlos Zambrano from a six-game suspension.The Cubs-Braves game was postponed by rain Thursday night following a delay of 2 hours, 20 minutes before the first pitch. The game was rescheduled for June 22 in Atlanta.The Cubs and Braves split the first two games of the series, each in extra innings.Zambrano was set to return Thursday night from the suspension for his tirade over a disputed call last week. Instead, the right-hander now is scheduled to start Friday's series opener at Cincinnati. Zambrano will be followed by Ryan Dempster on Saturday and Randy Wells on Sunday.The rainout gives Cubs outfielder Milton Bradley another day to recover from a sore calf.Manager Lou Piniella said Bradley was feeling better after straining his right calf running out a grounder Tuesday.Bradley wasn't in Thursday night's lineup but should be able to pinch-hit during the series at Cincinnati, according to Piniella, who said "there's a good probability" Bradley can start when the Cubs open a series in Houston on Tuesday.There were initial concerns the injury would send Bradley to the disabled list, but Piniella said that will not be necessary."First of all, he's feeling better today, which is a good sign," Piniella said. "Second of all, we really don't have many options. And third of all, we need him on the roster playing."Piniella had catcher Koyie Hill in his starting lineup as he said slumping regular Geovany Soto needs a rest. Soto is hitting only .209 with one homer and 12 RBIs."I told him I'm giving him a little mental breather," Piniella said of Soto. "Let Hill do a little catching and let this guy relax. When he gets back in he can start anew."Hill is hitting .271."I'm interested in winning baseball games, OK? And if he swings the bat, he'll play more than he has, no question," Piniella said of Hill.The rainout delayed the debut of Nate McLouth, whom the Braves acquired Wednesday from the Pittsburgh Pirates for three minor league players -- outfielder Gorkys Hernandez and pitchers Charlie Morton and Jeff Locke.Manager Bobby Cox had McLouth, the team's new center fielder, in his lineup as the No. 3 hitter, the spot normally held by Chipper Jones, who agreed to hit fourth.McLouth, an All-Star and Gold Glove winner in 2008, is hitting .256 with nine homers, 34 RBIs and seven steals.The Braves pushed back their rotation. Jair Jurrjens, who was scheduled to start Thursday night's game, will start Friday night's series opener against the Milwaukee Brewers. Javier Vazquez will start Saturday and rookie Tommy Hanson's major league debut now is set for Sunday.The Braves are promoting Hanson instead of 305-game winner Tom Glavine, who was released on Wednesday.Glavine said Thursday he plans to talk about his unexpected release and his plans on Friday. He declined an invitation from the Braves to retire with the team, telling general manager Frank Wren he thinks he can still pitch.Braves chairman Terry McGuirk said Thursday the decision to release Glavine was unanimous by Wren, Cox and team president John Schuerholz. McGuirk called the decision "clear as a bell.""It doesn't take anything away from what a great guy Tommy is and our great respect for him," McGuirk said. "It's not the way we had it charted out with Tommy."